Are social media sites biased against conservatives?
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Are social media sites biased against conservatives?

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Donald Trump Jr. told his Twitter followers he would support a conservative-leaning social media platform to combat, what he sees as, the liberal bias of existing platforms. Trump Jr.'s statements follow President Trump's claims that Google hides positive stories about his administration. According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of Americans believe social media sites censor political viewpoints. But others argue claims of liberal bias on social platforms are just a distraction. What do you think?

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Trump Jr. announced his plan on Twitter.  Per The Daily Mail

'I'd love to do it. But what I would prefer is, take one of the two Silicon Valley conservatives and let them start it. And then I'd help promote the platform and be all over that,' he said.
...The pushback came after social media sites banned some content from some conservatives such as conspiracy theory promoter Alex Jones, who were accused of violating hate speech and bullying policies. 
...The president with an unprecedented social media following said he can tell 'when things are different' and users are suddenly missing.
'Now, I don't know if it happens to the other side, but I can say that with respect to Google and Twitter and Facebook, there is a big difference, and in fact, I hear that they're holding hearings in Congress over the next couple of weeks,' he said Tuesday. 

Critics of the idea point out that social media sites which run without any regulations on user speech already exist and quickly devolve into racism and bigotry. Vanity Fair writes about one such site, Gab.

[I]t became overrun with racists, Nazis, and white nationalists. Earlier this year, its chief operating officer, Utsav Sanduja, threatened to call law enforcement when users posted a picture of a noose surrounded by swastikas and asked him: “It’s coming for you, are you excited?” “What am I supposed to do?” Sanduja asked the Daily Beast at the time. “Not protect myself?” In at least one instance, other tech giants have felt compelled to bring the hammer down on Gab: this month Patrick Little, a neo-Nazi who ran for Senate in California, deleted two posts in which he threatened physical harm against Jews after Microsoft threatened to block the platform. If Gab is any indication, any right-wing site operating according to the Don Jr. model would be forced to grapple with similar issues, alienating potential advertisers and normal people who wouldn’t want to be associated with its more extreme viewpoints. Eventually, like Gab, 4chan, and particularly offensive parts of Reddit, the platform would become so toxic that it would be shoved to the far corners of the Internet and roundly ignored by the masses.

A Facebook engineer has gone public with his concerns that the company is biased against conservative voices. Per The New York Times:

“We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” Brian Amerige, a senior Facebook engineer, wrote in the post, which was obtained by The New York Times. “We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology."

While it's possible the employees of social media sites are biased, experts say there is little chance algorithms are being created to benefit particular political ideologies. Per Vice

“Often biases are produced without really wanting it,” Yann Leretaille, founder of the Good Technology Collective, told VICE News. “These tech companies are just deploying this technology, and no one really thinks there might be biases or unintended consequences for society."
...That said, the lack of transparency about these algorithms doesn’t necessarily suggest any wrongdoing on the parts of the companies. They are simply protecting their intellectual property and there is no definitive evidence to suggest any of the major platforms have purposely built in anti-conservative biases in their systems.
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